With the holiday season quickly approaching it is important we take time to care for our own health. For  some, the holidays can be quite stressful and even exhausting. However, there are steps we can take to make the season less stressful and more enjoyable.

“Remember we often have a great deal of choice about what we do and how we feel. We can choose to bring acceptance to difficult situations and emotions, and we can choose to turn our attention to the things that we appreciate,” said Sofia Newton, Alameda Health System (AHS) Employee Wellness manager.

Newton said moving our focus away from material things to the things we already hold dear may also help.

“I hope this holiday season we can see the abundance around us—not an abundance of stuff, necessarily, but rather an abundance of love and connection. Even during the difficult bits,” said Newton.

She shared two tips from Greater Good Magazine to help make the holidays less stressful .

  1. Accept that the holidays will probably be, at times, disappointing.

    Bet you weren’t expecting that one! But acceptance is a strangely effective strategy for feeling happier and more relaxed at any time of the year. When we accept a person or a situation we find challenging, we let go of the resistance that creates stress and tension. There’s a lot of truth to the adage that what we resist, persists.

    Accepting the reality of a difficult situation allows us to soften. This softening opens the door to our own compassion and wisdom; and we all know that over the holidays, we are going to need those things.

  2. Let go of expectations while turning your attention to what you appreciate 

Unfortunately, the reality of the holidays is unlikely to ever outdo our fantasies of how great everything could be. So, the trick is to ditch our expectations and instead notice what is actually happening in the moment. Then find something about that moment to appreciate and try a gratitude meditation.